Pope Benedict XVI has announced plans for all Roman Catholic clergy to be installed with a special ‘panic button’ that will allow users to report suspected paedophiles.
In a pastoral email, the Holy Pontiff revealed that the emergency button would be accessible at the bottom right hand side of all cassocks, providing a direct link to CEOP – the Catholic Exploitation and Online Protection centre.
The Pope assured the faithful that the button would mean an end to any more cover-ups: ‘Every complaint registered with us will be thoroughly investigated,’ he promised, ‘by our newly appointed Papal Noncio.’
Father Flynn O’Flaherty, head of CEOP, welcomed the decision. ‘With over 1 billion users worldwide, Catholicism is one of the largest social networking sites. It is therefore imperative that we make it look like a safe environment for all our users.’
Experts believe that the ‘panic button’ will help to deter offenders because once pressed it not only contacts CEOP but also sends a 2000 watt electric charge to the offender’s genitals.
However, some clergy have raised objections to the button. ‘We already have a number of measures in place,’ said one anonymous Irish Cardinal, ‘I have a ‘privacy button’ which allows people to raise any concerns about my behaviour. All I ask is that anyone wishing to lodge a complaint agrees to sign a legally binding confidentiality clause.’
‘From next year all our priests, bishops and cardinals will be expected to carry the new CEOP icon’ said a Vatican representative, ‘for many years our clergy have carried religious icons but these have not had as much effect on their behaviour as we might have hoped.’
The new 'panic button', featuring the image of a 'Smiley Pope', also gives users instant access to CSI-Vatican – a crack team of cardinals who will visit the scene of the crime and, using the very latest forensic techniques, miraculously find no evidence whatsoever.